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Star Trek: Legacy

Star Trek: Legacy Review

The Legacy of Activision comes back for one more haunting round...

Review by Victor1st and Katherine "Barbarella" Venra

In the franchise once famously said by PC Gamer in 1997 as "the most lucrative franchise for PC gaming in the world" the PC games franchise for Star Trek has been through quite a few high's (armada, bridge commander, elite force, SFC 2) and a few lows (dominion wars, pinball, the cancellation of secret of Vulcan fury) over its more than a decade worth of releases.

From the inception of the fledgling PC franchise with the first major title by Interplay (25th Anniversary) up to the lawsuit of 2003 between Activision and ViaCom the fan base has been on the roller coaster ride for more than 10 years.

After the lawsuit of 2003 the fanbase that used to be in the thousands of players started to dwindle down to the mere hundreds.  Over 3 years worth of no games ended however in 2005 with a parting comment of the then head of Products & Development inside Viacom, Mr Harry Lang as his final act in running the franchise announced the continuation of the Star Trek gaming license outside of the MMO by introducing us to Bethesda Softworks.

Bethesda, already an industry lead had tallied up a lot of AAA games with the long running Elder Scrolls series and the new "Oblivion" title was gaining a lot of good preview results in the early stages of its press run.  Many people, including the staff of this site was more than happy to see the Star Trek gaming franchise in Bethesda's capable hands, and we still are.

The first title announced was Star Trek: Legacy, and this is what this review will be about.  When officially announced mid January of 2006 by the marketing bods over at Bethesda we found out that the crew responsible for Star Trek: Armada 2 would be working on this previously cancelled title from Activision.  MadDoc software under the leadership of Doc Davis would be getting this game made for the PC and the XBOX360, the first time a cross platformer which included the PC as one of the platforms was being made.  It was intended to be much like the previously cancelled game which was pencilled in as "Bridge Commander 2" by Activision...then cancelled...and then pencilled in as "Star Trek: Admiral" which MadDoc was already working on in 2002...and then that got cancelled, really, ya have to love Activision.

We should have seen it coming back then, but we didn't.  Activision, even after leaving the franchise, would come back with it's curse once more. From the spring of 2006 to the early to mid fall of 2006 we seen more and more disturbing news about features which had vanished, held back release dates and then the one thing which kept on appearing (but which none of the staff clicked on) was mentioned in no less than 2 podcast's by this site.  Both Mr Derek Chester (co-writer of the story line) and Mr Eric Krasnauskas of MadDoc both said they liked the PC version with the XBOX360 controller plugged in.  The warnings were already their at the start, no one in the community, not even us seen it, the game was basically a port FROM the 360 TO the PC...

With both of us having played the PC version it has become apparent that this game should NEVER have been released on the PC.  Even though MadDoc had been working on this rumoured "Star Trek: Admiral" and the actual game code itself has aspects of the Armada 2 engine written all over it the game itself plays and feels like a next gen console game even while playing it on the PC.

When Katherine got her hands on the PC version from a friend she immediately installed it on her home PC.  The installer was a bit on the plain side, but then again there's been a few trek games like that.  However one of the telling features which MadDoc had once again cut was the in-game CGI rendered movies which was rumoured to have been in the game from the very early stages of development as Star Trek: Legacy but then cut in favour of a cheap rip off of the Armada 2 in game movie setup.  The missing in game cut scene movies would also have a direct negative impact on the fantastic storyline that D.C Fontana and Derek Chester had written, and it wouldn't be the last time MadDoc had made grievous mistakes regarding the removal of key features in order to get the game out.

When you dig into the "options" of the game you immediately notice that all the standard features which any respecting game developer would include for a PC game is missing.  Little to no control over the video settings, little to no control over the sound settings and by far the biggest tell tale sign that this is infact a ported XBOX360 game?  NO USER CONFIGURABLE CONTROLS FOR THE PC VERSION!

Not only are you locked in with the keyboard controls, you are immediately hampered with the non configurable system which is why in the early podcasts both Eric and Derek said that the XBOX360 controller is a much better option.

The game itself plays just fine on this PC although it is seen by a few people and now confirmed that the PC version has infact dumbed down graphics compared to the XBOX360 version, something which people like me with dual SLI 7800 cards do not appreciate.

Starting the game off in the campaign you are immediately greeted by the welcoming voice of Scott Bakula as you play through the enterprise era missions.  However, as quick as the missions go the enterprise era vanishes behind you.  Yet another cut by MadDoc software was the total amount of missions available in the game, almost one third of the campaign missions were scrapped, further deadening the storyline of Legacy.

Moving into The Original Series and then into The Next Generation the voice acting by William Shatner seems tired, but he seems to liven up in the final mission in the TOS era.  Voice acting by Patrick Stewart is once more good however whats the deal with Avery Brooks (Sisko)?  Did MadDoc forget to WAKE HIM UP before he started reading those lines out?  As for the treatment of poor Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) you only got to hear her once or twice.  One of this games biggest selling points was the whole "we got all 5 captains in this!" which was spammed all over the place in the press release.  MadDoc and Bethesda however didn't do enough to capitalise on the fact this this will probably the first and last time all 5 of those captains will appear in one game.  Whether it is due to MadDoc's cutting of the CGI video, or cutting of the base mission numbers we will never know, but the voice acting was simply not enough, the interaction between these 5 key characters and the voice over's they done should have went deeper, much deeper, however, as we said before, you can thank MadDoc once again for screwing up the amount of missions in the game and cutting it down.

Aside from the lack of compelling voice overs from the 5 major stars the gameplay itself is...infuriating for the PC player, but a whole lot more easier when you turn your PC into a console and plug in an XBOX360 controller.  MadDoc...if I wanted an XBOX360 I would have BOUGHT ONE! The infuriatingly cumbersome controls (which are NOT configurable) on the PC does more damage to this game than good and is yet another reason which in our eyes this game should never have been released in this condition to the PC market.

As for the actual game play...what game play?  It's another point and shoot "kill all these *insert race here* ships and move on to the next mission" kind of affair.  Star Trek: Bridge Commander had a much more deeper and interesting mission structure and the missions themselves seem rushed and made by someone who basically doesn't know what he is doing.  As for the very final mission, you can instantly tell that the final mission was artificially made more harder than it should be by the mission scripter, taking shortcuts like that is inexcusable and is a sign that the scripter's for some particular missions were in way over their head.

The gameplay itself is fun for the first few missions but you soon get tired of the same old point and click affair and the cumbersome controls for the game with its false full 3D soon annoys you to the stage of not wanting to play the game any longer. When the game was released however even more mistakes were made apparent.  The game had to be patched immediately since multiplay didn't work correctly and even after Patch 1.1 there is still issues with it.

With all the negativity with this game there is however some saving graces.  As was mentioned before the game itself is fun, and if you can actually manage to get into multiplay for a battle thats where the fun really is.  Much like Bridge Commander it takes tactics to beat a human counterpart and Katherine has been spending a lot of time in the multiplay side on the PC.

If anything the only hopes of this game being continually played is to fix the inherent multiplay problems before the playerbase vanishes as quick as it did with Dominion Wars.

As a stand alone title for any new players to Star Trek, it is an above average offering and will keep most casual players happy.  However for someone like us at STG it is scarily looking like an Activision published game with inherently bad bugs and key features that were removed.

Star Trek: Legacy Score & Final Thoughts


As an XBOX360 title it will be great, however this game should never have been released on the PC in its current state which makes the game look like a late beta build rather than a final build.  Overall the graphics do look nice after you are forced to do some tweaking with the actual game files to get rid of MadDoc's dumbing down code,  The game does shine through as possibly one of the best graphically looking game's out of the box for Star Trek for the past 10 years, but you have to alter the game files to get it to really shine.

Ultimately though this is another game which will be played once and then shelved, with useless multiplay connectivity for PC many PC gamers in the trek franchise will be wishing Activision came back.  Bethesda have got to pull the stops out for their next PC Game offering to keep the playerbase alive, they have shot themselves in the foot with this one, and as for MadDoc, they should never have been allowed to develop this game.

Star Trek: Legacy FAQ

  • Who are responsible for the game?

    Star Trek: Legacy is being developed by
    MadDoc Software and published by Bethesda Softworks

  • What are the minimum specs for the game on PC?

    Windows XP (Home, Media Center or Pro Editions)
    with Service Pack 2

    DirectX Version 9.0c

    Intel Pentium 4 (2.66ghz or higher)
    or AMD Athlon XP 2800+ or higher

    DX9 compatible AGP 8X or PCI Express video card,
    128 MB VRAM, Pixel Shader 1.4

    16-bit Direct Sound compatible sound card,
    speakers or headphones required for audio

    512 MB RAM

    5 GB free space

    LAN or Broadband connection (DSL or Cable Modem)
    for Multiplayer

    Windows compatible Keyboard & Mouse

  • What kind of experience does MadDoc and Bethesda have in the gaming world?

    MadDoc software already has a lot of experience in the world of Star Trek gaming by already having developed Armada 2 and the staff of MadDoc also helped in the development of Star Trek: Armada.  Recently MadDoc as a company have developed games such as Empire Earth II, Empire Earth, Jane's Attack Squadron and Dungeon Siege: LOA.

    Bethesda Softworks as a company has published/developed games like The Elder Scrolls, Magic * Mayhem, IHRA, Morrowmind, Pirates of the Caribbean and Delta V.


  • When will this game be released?

    Legacy will be released in December of 2006


  • Which genre will the game be?

    As yet the info released is kind of speculative.  It will be some form of RTS however it will also be a ship battle sim similar to Star Trek: Bridge Commander.  More info will be available soon.


  • What is the story line of the game?

    It starts off with a tie in to TNG, the Iconian episode known as "Contagion".  Before the events of that episode a Vulcan tries to harness the power of the portal...enter The Borg.  The Borg then assimilate the technology and the story kicks off from there.  From what has been seen the story will be multi era, starting off in Archers time and continuing on to Picards time.


  • What's the info on multiplay?

    As far as we know the game will support up to 8 people on multiplay on GameSpy and the playable races are Federation, Klingon, Romulan and The Borg.  Both the XBOX Live and PC versions will have multiplay capability.


  • How many units will i be able to command?

    A total of 4 comprising of one capital ship and 3 support ships.


  • What ships will be in the game?


    Constitution Refit
    Excelsior Refit
    Miranda Refit
    Proxima Refit


    Death Boot
    Death Rite
    Raptor Refit


    Swift Wing
    BoP (Rom)
    Winged Def.


    Sphere 2
    Cube 3
    Diamond 3
    Obelisk 3
    Pyramid 3
    Rectangle 3
    Sphere 3
    Tactical Cube

This FAQ will be updated as more info comes in. 

Other Game Specific Sites - TrekCore's coverage of Star Trek: Legacy
Bethesda Softworks - The official publishers site
Mad Doc Software - The official developers site

Interviews & Media

Sept, 2006 GameInformers High Res Video
Sept 15, 2006 Star Trek Gamers
Sept 7, 2006 FiringSquad
Aug 31, 2006 Gamespot
Aug 14, 2006 Star Trek Gamers
Aug 8, 2006 GameInformer
Aug 4, 2006 Gamespot
Aug 4, 2006 Press Release
July 29, 2006 MyGamer
July 20, 2006 Gamespot
July 18, 2006 GameDaily
July 14, 2006 PCGS
July 13, 2006 Computer&VideoGames
July 4, 2006 GamersDaily
June 29, 2006 DigNews
June 26, 2006 Star Trek Gamers
June 16, 2006 Gamebiz Australia
June 13, 2006 Gamespot
June 10, 2006 Boomtown
June 8, 2006 FiringSquad
June 5, 2006 Intl House of Games
May 31, 2006 MyGamer
May 30, 2006 GameShout Podcast
May 30, 2006 UGO
May 25, 2006 PlanetXBOX360
May 22, 2006 GamingHorizon
May 20, 2006 Tom's Hardware
May 19, 2006 TheGameFeed
May 19, 2006 GameShark
May 19, 2006 WarGamer
May 19, 2006 GameDaily
May 18, 2006 GamesRadar
May 18, 2006 ShackNews
May 16, 2006 GameVortex
May 15, 2006 PlayFeed
May 14, 2006 GamesFirst
May 12, 2006 GamePlayMonthly
May 12, 2006 HomeTheatre
May 12, 2006 FiringSquad
May 12, 2006 Computer & Vid Games
May 11, 2006 G4TV
May 11, 2006 GamingSteve
May 11, 2006 Team XBox
May 11, 2006 TheManRoom
May 11, 2006 Washington Post
May 11, 2006 Gamespot
May 11, 2006 Gameplay Monthly
May 11, 2006 WorthPlaying
May 11, 2006 The Inquirer
May 11, 2006 GameZone Preview
May 10, 2006 XBoxCore
May 10, 2006 E3 Insider
May 10, 2006 PC IGN
May 10, 2006 Gamespot
May 5, 2006 UFPCroatia
May 2, 2006 GamesFirst
April 26, 2006 GameReactor
April 26, 2006 GamesRadar
April 24, 2006
April 2006 Issue PC Gamer UK Magazine
March 26, 2006 HoustonVehicles
March 22, 2006 Skewed and Reviewed
March 10, 2006 ArmChairEmpire
March 7, 2006 Star Trek Gamers
Feb 9, 2006
Feb 3, 2006
Feb 3, 2006 GameCloud
Feb 2006 GameInformer Magazine
Jan 24, 2006



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